Marlee Matlin and fellow Sundance Film Festival judges Jeremy O Harris and Eliza Hittman missed the film’s premiere Warehouse dreams on Friday (January 20) evening after the credits did not appear on the screen.
CODA The Matlin star has been deaf since the age of 18 months and has long been a spokesperson for the hearing impaired community.
Warehouse dreams tells the story of Killian Maddox (Jonathan Majors) who “lives with his ailing veteran grandfather, obsessively exercising between his court-appointed therapy sessions and his part-time job at the grocery store, where he has a crush on a friendly cashier.” festival abstract.
Joana Vicente, CEO of the Sundance Institute, said in a statement Press Association on Saturday (January 21) that the Wi-Fi-based captioning device had been checked prior to the show and was working, but it nevertheless failed.
“Our team immediately worked with the devices at this location to test them again before the next show, and the device worked without any glitches,” said Vicente.
“Our goal is to make all experiences (in person and online) as accessible as possible for all participants. It’s fair to say that our accessibility efforts are always evolving, and your feedback helps drive the entire community forward.”
Matlin representatives declined to comment when contacted Independent.
Accessibility at film festivals has been a major topic for years, and the incident once again showed how organizers are trying to make changes to accommodate all fans.
Vicente said her team had been working hard in this area, but admitted there was still a lot to learn.
“We are committed to improving the experience and affiliation for all festival attendees,” the statement reads.
“We consider accessibility to be one of the key drivers of institutional excellence, and this work is done in partnership with film teams.”
According Diversity, which was the first to report the strike, the jury sent a signed letter to the festival’s filmmakers, begging them for permission to screen “DCP open captioning” prints.
“We all went to Utah to celebrate independent film and those who dedicate their lives to making it,” the letter reads.
“Sitting in a room with others who love movies and cheer them on together is a thrill, and Sundance has been an important place for each of us to do so in our diverse careers. The independent cinema movement in the United States began as a way to make film accessible to everyone, not just the most privileged among us. As a jury, our ability to appreciate the work you all put into making these videos has been marred by the fact that they are not available to all three of us.”
Vicente said Matlin and her colleagues will see Warehouse dreams in the coming days.
The Sundance Film Festival runs until January 29.
Additional reports from the Associated Press